I-League Report Card: Rangadjied United

The north eastern club just about saved themselves from getting relegated. Goal's Kaustav Bera analyses their season and gives his verdict...
By Kaustav Bera

Goal in its end of season special analyses the performance of all the teams in India's top flight and in this piece, we focus on Shillong Lajong.

Rangdajied United FC

Expectation : The new kids on the block, Rangdajied United had earned their time in the top tier of Indian football courtesy of their triumph in the second division. Expectations were naturally muted for the first time contestants. However they roped in former ONGC manager Santosh Kashyap and were hoping to stay up, if that could be classified as season's objective. Infact after the first couple of games, then coach Kashyap had this to say, "I'm sure this team is not meant for relegation."

Result: While they did indeed save relegation like Kashyap claimed but it turned ugly and moreover, Kashyap was not 

Rangdajied conceded more goals than anyone
else (38 goals) even more than the relegated
Mohammedan Sporting. 
there to see it as he hoped. While they kept struggling in the first half of the season, their fortunes changed after the signing of Ranti Martins who scored eight goals in the business end of the season. This, alongwith coach Hering Shangpliang's tactics helped them avoid the drop.

The Coach : Santosh Kashyap's stint at the club didn't go as planned as the team could garner a mere 12 points from 16 matches. Hering Shengpliang was thurst into the limelight to save the day. With the team rooted to the bottom position with only two wins in sixteen matches under Kashyap, the board decided to that they needed a change at the top.

Shengpliang however managed to carve a remarkable turnaround with the help of the inspirational Ranti Martins. In the eight remaining matches Rangdajied picked up 13 points, more than his predecessor did in half the time and saved the blushes. And the wins were against top class oppositions as they stunned Bengaluru FC and Salgaocar FC. While Ranti will run away with much of the applause for saving the season, Shangplaing deserves equal plaudits for engineering the great escape for a team which looked destined for relegation.

Where it went wrong
: The foreign recruits failed to click with the likes of Ho Jun Shing and Edmar Figueira drawing blanks all around. Having conceded 38 goals all season it could have been forgiven had they scored many, but the 29 goals scored don't make for good reading in the context. Even after recruiting five players from IMG-Reliance, the likes of Gouramangi Singh and Subrata Paul, the situation didn't change.

Top 3 Performances

1. Rangadjied United 3-2 Pune FC

2. Rangdajied United 3-2 Bengaluru FC

3. Salgaocar 1-2 Rangdajied United

Top Player of the Season
Ranti Martins

The Nigerian found form after the move and saved his team the drop

The tale of Ranti Martins and Rangdajied United could not have been similar. The I-League top scorer since three years running, Ranti had a curious lean patch at United SC this term. In eight matches, he scored eight goals only failing to score in the final match of the season and was one of the primary reasons that Rangdajied saved relegation.

Flop Player of the Season
Edmar Figueira

The Brazilian was supposed to do the scoring but failed miserably

While the defenders could be held responsible for their miserable performances, but in reality it was the goalscorers who failed most. It is easy to win matches if goals are flowing, as Ranti proved. The former Pune FC frontman drew a blank during his tenure as he scored only a solitary goal in ten appearances. If its any consolation that goal did come against Pune FC and which Rangdajied United somehow won.

I have done nothing with the team. All of them are good players and they just needed to be motivated and I do that."
- Hering Shengpliang
(Rangdajied United manager)